miniature 8 ft old town canoe I purchased

Can anyone give me some information about a miniature 8 ft long Old Town Canoe I recently purchased? Several individuals have suggested it was a salesperson's 'demo' that they took on sales calls...I'd love some info if anyone knows. The serial number is 498599 8
The records of Old Town canoes which are available on CD only go as far as boat number 210999, which dates to 1979. It would help if you posted a picture of your canoe. I'm unsure if Old Town put serial numbers on their model canoes...

The following discussion may help you decide what it is you have:

Read what Roger says in the above discussion regarding "salesman's samples". You may also want to click on the "search" function above and plug in the term "salesmans sample". I recall a past discussion of the small canoes Old Town made for dealers. Even if yours isn't an Old Town model canoe, if you like it and it looks cool on display in your home, that's the important part.

Benson and/or Roger will probably add to this...

miniature 8 ft. Old Town canoe


I should probably wait and allow Benson Gray, the authority on Old Town, to answer but, as a collector of antique canoe models, I can help you with some basic info. Old Town, as well as a number of other early manufacturers in both the US and Canada, made miniature models of their full-size canoes. Although they are commonly referred to as "salesman's samples", it is unlikely that they were carted around the countryside as 'demos'. Rather, they were 'store display' pieces that routinely were seen in outfitter stores. Most companies that made these miniatures built them in lengths anywhere from 3' to 6'. Old Town made both a 4' and an 8' length. Carleton made a 42" as well as an 8' model. From these display pieces, a potential customer could get an idea of what was available (as well as looking at a catalog), if there was not a full-size canoe actually in stock at that moment.

With respect to Old Town, legend has it that, if an outfitter store ordered a railway box-car load (60 full-size canoes) for spring delivery, Old Town would provide a 4' display model as a premium. If two car loads were ordered, the outfitter could choose to have two 4' models or one 8' model. Old Town seems to have made/distributed more such models than any other maker. It is not unusual to see them pop up from time to time. On the other hand, those by Kennebec seem to be somewhat less numerous, and those by Carleton, in my experience, are almost unknown. The same is true for Canadian-made models; one rarely, if ever, comes across a Peterborough, a Chestnut, a Rice Lake or Lakefield. I should point out that I am referring, here, to vintage and antique pieces. There are modern-day 'sample' canoes still being made, on contract, for Old Town; perhaps yours could be one of those.

It would be nice to see a photo of your Old Town model; please try to post one here if you can. These things can be quite valuable nowadays, usually far more than the full-size vintage canoes they represent. Good quality 8' Old Towns have sold for $8K - $12K in the recent past, while 4-footers have brought anywhere from $10K to almost $20K. Again, my references are to authentic, antique sample models.These examples were of exceptional or very good condition. Those sales took place in well-promoted auctions with a very high level of competition. It remains to be seen what effect the present 'dampened' economy will have. Be aware, too, that fakes and forgeries are not unknown. Modern-made sample canoes would likely sell for considerably less.

I leave it to Benson, Dan, Kathy or one of the others to trace the Old Town build record for the serial # you have provided.

Hope this helps somewhat. Will be pleased to comment further should you wish.
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Hi Kimberly,

You have a model that was built on the Old Town form at Island Falls Canoe Company as described at about ten years ago. I have a similar four foot long wooden model as shown at with serial number 498603 4. The factory does not have any records or additional information about these. The auction houses love to call these 'salesman samples' but there is no indication that they were ever actually used in that way as Roger and Kathy have mentioned. Feel free to reply here if you have other questions or want more details.


Posting pictures for Kimberly of her sweet little boat!


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miniature 8 ft Old Town

Thanks to both Kathy and Kimberley for posting the pics. Looks like Benson has nailed down the origin of this model. Something worth having, and fairly likely to increase in value in the years ahead, but, more importantly, really meant to be enjoyed for what it is. :)